15/08/2006 08:38, Report by Ben Hibbs
OT atmosphere excites Ole
United have a stadium that rivals any arena in the world, according to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, and the Norwegian forward is hoping the increased capacity at Old Trafford makes for a noisy season.
Solskjaer, who has called OT home for ten years now, is in awe at just how much the stadium has improved since arriving from Molde in 1996 for £1.5million. United beat UEFA Cup holders Sevilla 3-0 as the new quadrants were officially opened on Saturday. But a capacity crowd of 76,000 will cram into the new-look stadium on Sunday against Fulham for the Premiership kick-off. And Ole can’t wait.
“We’ll be getting 76,000 fans at games… that’s a massive stadium,” Solskjaer told United Review
. “It is something we’re all very proud of, supporters and players. Europe’s great stadiums all have a different feel about them but Old Trafford is home, and that’s special.
"I really enjoy playing here, and I’ve never been scared of walking out and playing in front of those huge crowds because they always want us to do well. For me, there’s nowhere like Old Trafford. The capacity was about 56,000 when I arrived ten years ago. So it shows how the club has progressed in the decade I’ve spent here.”
United missed out on 13 Premiership points at home last season as a result of 5 draws and a defeat. In comparison, Chelsea dropped just two points at Stamford Bridge. That record will need to improve, and Ole thinks the fans have a part to play.
The 33-year-old striker, who, after two years of injury problems, is hoping to make a telling contribution to the squad in the new season, believes the stadium’s bowl effect will make Old Trafford an intimidating proposition for opponents and an inspiration for United's players.
“You could hear that the atmosphere was better in the games towards the end of last season,” he said. “Hopefully it will be very, very noisy this season because it can help the team. For